This transcript is brought to you thanks to the hard work of Dawn Michelle.
Welcome Jennifer to the Keto Woman podcast. How are you doing today?
Oh my God, I’m so excited. Just happy to be here. I love talking with you and I’m thrilled to be a guest.
And we’ve actually met a few times in person, so it’s nice to see you again.
It’s great to see you. I just wish I could give you a big hug.
Yes, we like hugs. Well it won’t be long. Because we will both be at Ketofest, won’t we?
Yay! I’m so excited about that, too.
Yeah, I know, me too. I suppose it is a ways away, it must be about six weeks away. But I know it’s going to come around really quickly.
I’d say seven, not that I’m watching the clock, but much to do, lots to prepare.
And exciting for me to be in America again. It’s become a bit of a regular thing for me these days. Having not been to America at all until last year, was the first time I’d ever set foot stateside. Yes. Becoming a bit regular now.
Your first Ketofest last year?
Yes. That was my first trip to the US of A.
Oh wow. Well, I’m very happy that it was a good experience. And, I was so psyched to meet you last year and then to be on your show this year. Oh my God. Yay.
We’ve been talking about it for a while, haven’t we? So, it’s nice to finally have you here sharing the web waves with me.
It’s been quite a year, actually, almost a full year since then. Thinking about everything that’s happened in my life and, just the world in general. It’s been crazy times.
Lots of changes. A lot has gone on in this year. So, on that subject, tell me a bit about you.
I am 48, I have two partners and I’ve started a low carb candy company, which, I founded actually after Ketofest last year. I was passing out some samples of my partner’s candy. He makes candied citrus peels and orange rinds and ginger and stuff. And I was passing out samples, last year to see what people thought. And everybody’s like, oh, that’s really good. So, I started a candy company and also of course I’ve been Keto for quite some time, about four and a half years now. I was a type two diabetic back in 2014. I got my diagnosis and it was really bad. I had a 12.1 A1c and started to have kidney disease. My eyes were messed up, you know, all the complications. I spent like a year trying to find, just trying different things, drugs, trying to eat a little better, but, you know, I didn’t know. Finally, I had a big wake-up call that it wasn’t working, I hit the Internet real hard found Keto and, saved my life.
How did you find Keto? Literally a Google search with your symptoms? How did you come across it?
Oh, actually, I went on Reddit. I was a Redditor and the diabetes sub-Reddit there is not entirely friendly to Keto and they’re mainly type one diabetes oriented. And they’re not strictly about Keto. But from there, some people are like, you should try Keto. And then the Keto sub-Reddit was all like, this is going to do it. You’ve got to do it. And they were right. In fact, I almost died. So I was very hesitant and fearful about trying Keto because the fear that you read on the Internet, so I went to my doctor at the time and I said, well you want me to keep increasing my dosage of these different medications? Do you want me to go on Lipitor? You have me taking Amerol and Glipizide and you say diabetes is a progressive disease on, I don’t want to see it progress anymore.
So I was thinking about trying this Keto diet. “Well, some people say it works, some people say it doesn’t. I don’t know. Yeah, if you try it, that’s all right.” So, he didn’t push it. He didn’t say it was good. He didn’t say it was bad. And so, I went, and I tried it and I was on all those medications. What do you think happened? Well, the first day that I cut out all the carbs and then the next morning I took the standard dosages of all those medications almost passed out. I think I did pass out briefly and when I could get to a blood sugar meter, it read 24. I had chills and I had to crawl, and I finally got to the phone and I talked to the doctor’s office and they’re like, oh yeah, that can be a complication. Just keep some candy on you. And you know, if you start to feel queasy like that just eat candy, it’s a problem with the Keto diet. Okay. I don’t think that’s the problem. I think the problem is with the medication. Well, if you want to cut back, you could go back to like maybe, you know, a half dose and see how that goes. Like how about a zero dose? So, I fired that doctor.
I mean, it’s crazy, isn’t it? That’s why people really need to get their doctor on-board. And the doctors need to be on-board in the first place or at least open to it because this is a great illustration of what can happen if you are on medication. You know, it actually shows just how effective this change of diet is that the medication ends up then having that such a dramatic response that it sends your blood sugar through the floor, you know, that’s actually a good validation of Keto, isn’t it? However, it could lead to potentially deadly consequences. So that’s why it’s so important to be able to work with your doctor. But to be able to do that, they have to have at least some kind of understanding, which you know, it sounded like originally when you spoke to your doctor that they did because they said they knew about it. They said Keto can help. It helps for some; it doesn’t help for others. So, I think you would be justified in thinking that they were okay with it and would have given you the guidance that you might need. If you had needed to be aware that this might be a problem when you started, that the medication was going to bring your blood sugar right down, it’d be something that you could have looked out for and managed and all the rest of it. Crazy.
I thought I was doing all the right things, consult your doctor, you know. And I did. And, it turned out that he wasn’t helpful at all, but I didn’t know that, he sounded helpful. I feel like a lot of people accept their doctors as authorities. They just do whatever the doctor says. They trust them and they don’t question, and that’s how I used to be. That ripped the scales from my eyes. And I found a doctor who views himself as my partner, and my health coach. He is an MD, but when he says something, he expects, and I do go research it and then decide for myself, if that makes sense. And take action on it or propose an alternate course of action, which I’ve done. And then he’ll research, and he’ll say whether he thinks that makes sense. So I’m not saying I have an MD or I’m an expert in stuff, but I’m an expert in my own health.
And I think that’s how it should be. And I think that’s more and more. That’s what seems to come back from pretty well everyone I speak to is this sense of empowerment and confidence that Keto low carb gives them, they get this understanding of how their body works because even if they just read the most basic of the science that goes with it, it all starts to make sense how their body’s working and they get it and they start to understand why they had the problems they had and how easy it can be to fix it or at least help whatever the issues are that they have. And that gives you a real sense of confidence to be able to then go to your doctor and let you say you’re not speaking to them as an equal. You’re not saying you have the qualifications they do, but you’re speaking to them on that kind of level where you’re the expert of you and you’re an intelligent person and you’re willing to put in the work. And when you do find the right person, and my doctor’s very similar, you get that kind of relationship where you work together. Rather than they’re just, like you said before, they’re just this authority figure that expects you to just do whatever they say.
The high priest of medicine, you walk in and it gives you three hail Mary’s and sends you home with a prescription for Ritalin or whatever. My current doctor, I love him and he’s a good guy and he loves me, you know, not in any sort of inappropriate way. But anyway, I’ll talk with him about Keto and diabetes and continuous glucose monitors and fasting all these health practices that have changed my life. And, he promotes them to his other patients, but he says that I am one of the few patients that actually does it and he feels like I’ve talked to him about how angry I am at the medical establishment for not effectively communicating to people that these practices are not just some sort of woowoo alternative with no health implications, but these are very powerful and that I feel like I might have wasted or suffered for years of my life that I didn’t have to because I didn’t know. And he said that as much as he has preached these practices to his other patients, very few of them actually adopt it.
So, it’s kind of wasted time and then most of them are just there for a pill anyway.
Yes. That’s always going to be the problem, isn’t it? That, not everyone, I think you kind of have to be that certain kind of person, and it’s the kind of person that we tend to find in the Keto community, is that they’re sort of slightly rebellious, prepared to push back, interested in the science, interested in doing their own research, not bothered about going out there alone if needs be. Putting themselves first and leading the way.
Another problem here in the US is the way that medical billing is done. My doctor does not get paid for time he spends giving nutritional coaching. The insurance company will reimburse him for diagnostic codes, for prescribing, for performing procedures. And for a visit, he gets five minutes reimbursement and if he spends longer than that, he’s not getting paid by the insurance company, you know? He has to support the whole office with all the people that do the medical billing and the paperwork managing and appointments and stuff like that. So, if he’s wasting time talking to patients who aren’t going to actually take his advice, that hurts his whole practice.
Yes. Exactly. I remember Shawn Baker talking about the problem that he had with the hospital that he worked for and that was the same problem. He was wanting to give some nutritional advice and coaching and setting up weekly sort of drop in center type advice to give to patients who were coming in for these operations. The goal was for them not to have the operation in the first place. And, of course the hospital, the finance department freaked out at this and that’s where everything started to go wrong for a time. It’s sad isn’t it? That money basically is coming before health. And I know you talk about that the system in America and it’s different in the UK. But the frustration, I think a lot of us feel is that this way of eating could potentially save the health system. It can certainly save the NHS, which, you know, probably the biggest amount of money that flows out is to deal with type two diabetes or the associated problems that come with that. You start reversing all that, you suddenly freed up all this money to do all these other things. I mean, it just seems so obvious yet. Nope.
Completely obvious. And I’m living it and I’m trying to be an example and not horribly preachy to all my friends and family, but to inspire. It kills me that their doctors are not advocating for this. My whole family has obesity genes and diabetes genes and you can see it in action. Unfortunately, with my older relatives who are, you know, not all of them have diabetes, but a lot of them. And a lot of them are taking the approach that they can eat whatever they want and then just inject insulin to cover for it. Or, take a handful of pills, good to go, right? And they have more pills and more complications. We know how that goes, but the doctor isn’t pushing them. So, I don’t know if their doctor did push them. But they all say to me, “Oh, Jennifer, I admire what you’re doing. It’s inspirational. I wish I could do that.” Like you could, you could do that. You know, you say that, but you could.
It does seem nuts doesn’t it when you’ve got, so on one hand, you have this disease that’s progressive and there’s this path that you can take with it. On the other hand, and the choice is yours, there’s this different diet and lifestyle that you could adopt that could reverse your condition. It’s your choice. Which one are you going to take? This one involves medication, eat what you like, but it’s going to be progressive, which means it’s gonna keep getting worse. You’re going to have to keep taking more medication, and so on and so forth. Or, it’s going to be a bit more work. It’s going to be difficult to adjust to, but we can reverse it. Which one? It seems amazing that people still choose the progressive option.
It’s incredible. And then when they talk about, the things that they would have to give up, I’m like, but I know there are Keto options that would do that thing for you. You know, you have pasta. Awesome. Let me introduce you to zoodles or shirataki or these oat fiber konjac noodles that I love? Or instead of using pasta, imagine you had your sauce and sausage on a bed of Broccoli. Yum. Right? Okay. The rice, try cauliflower rice. There’s candy. I got a candy company. You don’t have to miss candy. And they’re like, well, maybe if I had your partner Will to cook for me. And I have to admit, having my partner Will to cook for me is pretty awesome. But now there’s so many companies out there providing even pre-packaged cauliflower pizza in the frozen pizza section or whatnot. You know, you don’t have to cook it all from scratch. Although I don’t think it’s that hard, I don’t do all my cooking either, so I might be kind of privileged there.
I do think it’s something that it’s a skill that is useful to have, but only basic cooking skills. Keeping it simple I think is the mainstay for everybody. Even people like me who like cooking and experimenting for the most part, I keep it simple because it’s just easier that way.
Any dinner that’s steak and a salad, is a good dinner for me.
Exactly. What’s not to like? Let’s go back a bit. I’d be interested to find out what led you to that place where you had your wakeup call with the 12.1 A1c? How did you get there? You’ve already mentioned that there’s genetic history there.
If you saw a picture of my family, you would see me, my brother, my mom, my dad, everybody. We all have the same build, what we call in Yiddish, zaftig. Do you know what that is? Puffy, to say the least. I believe that our genetic heritage, you know, is we’re perfectly well suited to living in the ghettos and surviving on nothing but cabbage and, and maybe, a Borscht for months at a time. I think we’re all very well adapted to a fasting for instance, but we’re not well adapted to living in plenty. So all of us, I wouldn’t say that we struggle with our weight because that would imply that we struggle. And for most of my life I was perfectly happy being a rotund Rubenesque. I was jolly and around 200-220 pounds. I don’t know what that is and your weird kilogram units, but larger than is healthy for me. And I was fine with that as long as I was healthy. I would go to the doctor and have my lipids and he’d say you should lose weight. But it wasn’t like I had any problems, so I ignored him. I like food.
But then I did start to have some problems with my vision where my vision was not a sharp is it should’ve been. And I went in for a checkup and he’s like, oh yeah, so your blood sugar is 320. I’m like, is that bad? And he’s like, yeah, you have diabetes. I’m like, are you sure? He’s like, I’m sure. You don’t need to retest? No, I don’t need to retest. So that began the year of trying to treat diabetes with drugs. And then just kept adding on and on and on. And then there was this one day where I had this series of unfortunate events. I was at an amusement park with my family. And there all of us were, the Kleiman genes all on parade. They had a new roller coaster. And I don’t know if you’ve been to an amusement park here where they have the safety harnesses and the fancy rides and the cages and restraints and stuff, but you have to be of a certain body size in order to fit within these safety harnesses.
That’s right, you have to, I can always remember, I’m not a fan of most of these rides that I can remember that from as a child with things I wanted to go on this, and minimum height requirement isn’t there? But then there’s also a maximum size, I guess.
Well, the newer rides because they are pushing the limits and so they have like special elaborate harnesses with different straps and cushioning and stuff. So, they actually have a test seat that you can try on to see if you will fit before you spend an hour waiting in line to go on the ride. And so, we walk up to the newest ride and it has, you know, your test seat. My dad looks at it and he doesn’t even try. My mom, no. My brother tries it and he just barely makes it. I try it and I just barely make it. So, we wait an hour to get on the ride and I get up there and it took three of the park attendants to force the harness closed over me and squish my fat into place. And that was so humiliating, and I could just see them kinda staring at me in contempt. I mean I’m probably imagining some of it, but I don’t think all of it. And you know, the other people on the ride, you know, they had to wait for these people to, to shove the harness in place over my guts. Well that was all pretty terrible and I don’t think I enjoyed the ride either.
Well, you’re not very likely to after that style, to be honest. It’s not going to happen.
No, not at all. Oh, there it was terrible. And then afterwards I had heard that my aunt who suffers from diabetes had an incident that morning where she lives alone, and she had fallen, and she was also very obese at the time. She couldn’t get up and she had to call the paramedics to come and it took a squad of six young men to get her to her feet. And I’m like, wow, so this is my genetics, this is my future. If I don’t do something, I’m going to be living alone and calling 911 to help me get to my feet until I die an early death of complications of various diseases. So, I had to do something. And wow, I’m so lucky I found Keto because, you know, one of the things we’ve talked about now is that people need not to be their own doctor, but at least be responsible for their own health. But it’s so hard because saying I reject the authority of the doctor. That’s a great first step. But then there are so many charlatans and so many different alternative health paths. And not to say that all of them are bad or all of them are good, but to be able to judge which is the right path now that you’re taking responsibility, now that I was taking responsibility for myself.
It is not an easy thing to say, this is real, this works. And this is a bunch of, woo-woo, it has marketing cache, and so it’s popular because it has an emotional appeal or whatever, but it doesn’t actually help. So, I, have a lot of scientific training. I was studying to be a PhD in mathematics and math education. And so, I had some training in reading research papers and evaluating both qualitative and quantitative research. I was able to find a lot of research backing the Keto diet, which helped me, but I can’t imagine that the average person trying to decide what’s the right health practice for them. They don’t have those resources. They’re probably just asking their friends, are going on the Internet and Googling and finding all kinds of other answers, which may or may not actually help. So, it’s difficult.
It’s tricky isn’t it? Because on one hand, especially with the recent dramatic rise in popularity of Keto, there is so much out there on the Internet and it’s all completely free. That’s one of the things I like about Keto is that it is accessible to everyone for free. You know, I mean, it hasn’t cost me anything to learn how to eat this way and I know it can do. And I know there are multiple businesses building up around it now and around the popularity of it. Businesses like yours that we’re going to talk about in a minute that are selling products to eat. There are coaching programs like the one I endorse, Kim Howerton and Carrie Brown’s program, which is fantastic. And there are all these things that you can pay money to learn about Keto if you want to, but you can also access it all for free. And that’s what I like about it is universally accessible for absolutely anyone completely for free. But there’s also the other side of that there is so much information out there, it can be really confusing to figure out which is the best path for you.
You know, Daisy, I think we kind of live in a very happy bubble actually because I think I’ve met people who have approached Keto from a less informed and less free, point of view. But where they got introduced to Keto through, for instance, Pruvit marketers or through their chiropractor who has a bunch of products, various powders and MCT oils and exogenous ketones. From that approach, it’s not a free diet, but to this approach, it’s more of a sort of a magical process of taking different potions that will make you better. And you know, the marketing hype around these things is intense.
Yes, that’s a very good point actually. And I kind of had completely forgotten about that because it’s, it’s so much something that I stay away from. I forget what a big industry it is, and of course it really does appeal to those people, that group of people that you were talking about before where your doctor was saying, he wished all his patients who Keto would have worked for, would adopt it. But it is those kinds of people who like to take a pill that are already susceptible to the exogenous ketone marketers.
One extreme or the other. You get the pill from your doctor. The people that will not venture out from their doctor’s protection and they are just going to take the pill and they don’t want to consider anything else because the doctor hasn’t said to do it. And then there’s the people who have thrown the shackles of the doctor off. But they are not scientific in their approach. So the first, and the most bloviated marketing claims out there, they’re like, well, this stuff, this is amazing, and it says, and it has these endorsements by these beautiful looking people, and, it costs a lot of money, so it’s gotta be good. Those people, you know, it’s hard to kind of separate out the facts from the fiction when you have to start evaluating these health claims that they’ve been caught in. I went to the Nourished Festival for gluten-free products, which our candy is gluten-free. And while I was there, there were several other, Keto people at this conference, including the Pruvit booth, and the Pruvit marketers. They were very enthusiastic about their product and they sounded very sincere about it. And, I hope that if they are listening that they’re not going to be offended, but their product is just completely unnecessary unless you happen to be a high-performance athlete. I don’t know. I don’t think so. I mean, obviously most high-performance athletes don’t take exaggerates ketones. So, I don’t think it’s a necessary product even for them, but certainly not for people who are just trying to lose weight.
Well, in actual fact, it goes the other way. That can actually be counterproductive if you’re trying to lose weight.
Oh, I was talking with someone actually literally yesterday about this. She said she was doing a little fast because she wanted to get her body back in a higher state of operation and she was measuring her ketones and she was 36 hours into the fast. So, she said, I took some exotic as ketones to really boost my ketones and really get deeper into the fast. I’m like, okay, you just actually completely tanked your fast because your body was producing the ketones and that means your body was taking its stored fat reserves and converting it to energy, and now you just took a whole shot of extra energy. And so, your body’s like, wow, well I got extra energy, I don’t need to produce any more ketones.
It’s actually, you just fed me, thanks, fast over.
She’s like, oh, actually that makes a ton of sense. But the Pruvit people aren’t going to say that. Sorry, Pruvit people. All right now they hate me. That’s just the mechanics of it. And you know, I understand the average consumer is not going to get deep into the science and so they’re just going to believe marketing claims.
That’s right. And it is, when you look at the science behind it and you start. I have a very logical brain and I have to understand how something works before I can buy into it. And when you start picking these claims apart is when you start realizing there’s something dodgy going on. And it’s not to say that there aren’t potential really useful applications for exogenous ketones. I’ve recommended them to my uncle, for example, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, perfect candidate for exogenous ketones in my opinion. And there are others. But if weight loss is your goal, stay away from them. Save your money, spend it on steak and bacon.
The interesting thing about the marketing and health auras and taking an emotional approach to health. I think it is the intuitive way that most of us operate and some of us are more rational. I’m not saying rational is better, but because rational can get trapped too. We can make things over-complicated and we can get stuck trying to evaluate different courses of action and fail to take any action. Sometimes we have to rely on our feelings. But often our feelings will lead us to the flashy over marketed solutions that seem emotionally appealing but are not the right ones.
Difficult balance to try and figure out. Tell me about, you obviously adopted this way of eating and for some people and I’m not sure how I would cope in that situation. I live on my own so I can do what I want in my house and have what foods I like in the house and all the rest of it. I’m not sure if I could cope if I lived with someone who was a carb eater. I’m not sure how I’d deal with that. I know people find a way, but you are quite lucky, I think. You managed to get your team on-board and they found their own benefits from it. Is that right?
Well, not right away. My partner Will, did start cooking Keto for me right away because he was very supportive and is very supportive. But my partner Gloria, she, while being emotionally supportive, she loved her carbs and it was actually a big sacrifice for Will. He was cooking Keto for me, but he was still having carbs himself. And he was going through a phase at the time where he was perfecting his artisan bread skills. And let me tell you, I think he caused my diabetes. I’m sorry, Will. Will, you, there? You caused my diabetes. He just would pull this perfectly amazing loaf of sourdough out of the oven and offer me a hot slice of this crusty, amazing smelling bread with butter. Oh, just thinking about it. I mean, there is no Keto equivalent, unfortunately.
That’s impossible to resist, isn’t it? I do understand that. That’s where I was saying, if I had that in front of me, I’m not sure how I’d cope.
And oh, he’s making these pretzels and bagels and he was just really getting into it. Fortunately, he stopped making those and he would still make fried potatoes or whatnot for him and Gloria. But I could resist those, under the threat of looming death. Death is a great motivator and, avoiding death. Once it became apparent to me that eating carbs and paying attention to my blood sugar, it was very apparent. You know, even the supposedly to heart-healthy oatmeal that my first doctor had advocated would spike my blood sugar and there it would be up the 200-300 range again.
It’s a very good way actually, isn’t it? Bringing things like that home. It’s one of the reasons why I say that it is useful to get a meter just to do that, to test different foods cause I’ve done the same thing. I had the exact same result with oatmeal. I used to love the steel cut oats. You know, these are super healthy, and I used to eat all the time. I can remember having a conversation with my sister who also used to like having oatmeal for breakfast and she used to say, the thing is, you know you have this thing that’s supposed to be really good for you and is supposed to be really filling, but I just tend to feel sleepy and I’m really hungry mid-morning after having it. Of course, now we know exactly why that is, it’s because of the massive spike and then slumping in blood sugar.
I’ve been surprised by a number of foods, and butternut squash. I made some soup with it and as soon as I tasted it, it tasted so sweet. So, I thought, right, I’m going to test my blood sugar response to this. And it went even higher than oatmeal. So that’s where it’s just really worth testing different things, especially if they are your favorite things. And then you have this black and white data in front of you. You can’t argue with that. You can’t argue and potentially play down how you felt, which is really easy to do when it’s balanced with something that you’re really craving. You can really play down those other things. But when you’ve got that data, black and white in front of you, that’s shown you exactly what’s happened to your blood sugar and you combine that with how you feel and then it makes it a little bit easier to balance those scales in the right direction I think.
Absolutely, having that feedback loop is the only way I think that people learn to change their behavior. You know, just somebody telling you, oh, you shouldn’t do that. Well, okay, yeah, probably they’re right. But, being able to experiment and do something and see the results of that, is so powerful. So, I’ve been wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
I would love to try out those.
For about a year and a half now, ever since they became available for type two diabetics. Not that I take any drugs or anything. So, my doctor’s like, well, you know, if you want it, I’ll prescribe it for ya. Cause he’s my health partner. But he’s like, I don’t know why you need it. You know, it’s not going to tell you any information. Like you need drugs, cause you don’t. I’m like, it’s going to tell me stuff. And it really has. It’s fascinating to see how different foods react. And even though I’ve pretty much cured my insulin resistance at this point, and I have experimented by having a carb meal or a piece of chocolate made with real sugar. I can see it spike and then I can see it go down again. And that makes me so happy to see because wow, you know, back when I was still fighting the insulin resistance, I would go up and it would stay up.
That’s the problem, isn’t it? Has anything surprised you? So, you’ve obviously had this data for a long period of time. Have there been things in there that you would never have expected to either spike it high or maybe drop it low, and not even necessarily food? I know some people react to things like coffee. Or have you seen maybe things like stress or sleep impacting it? I mean that’s where it must be so fascinating. Just having that continuous, being able to monitor it all the time. You can see the results of so many different things.
It’s really has provided a level of insight into my metabolism that I had zero insight, or a very tiny insight into before. One thing that I can say that is hugely important to understand is that when you’re using a little blood glucose meter where you do the finger prick, you are getting one readout, one tiny piece of information. And compare it to a continuous glucose monitor. It’s like you’re looking into a room, a dark room, completely dark room and you flick the light switch for a second compared to just turning the light on.
Yeah. So much you can miss.
Huge. So, when people say like, Oh, I’m going to test my reaction to coffee. I’m going to take a read out before and a read out after. My experience with the continuous glucose monitor, it tells me that a hundred percent, those two readings are basically meaningless because there’s a natural fluctuation. There’s other stuff going on depending on the time of day, your circadian rhythm, heat, stress, sleep, other foods you might’ve eaten in the past 12 or even 36 hours. And just your general state of health too. So, depending on your body’s general state. Like I can see where my body is in a general, like kind of unstressed, very relaxed, healthy state for a couple of weeks at a time. And then I can see my baseline blood glucose is in the 80s. But then I can absolutely see where maybe my sleep isn’t as good because I’ve been traveling, or work stress is going on. And then my baseline glucose is going to be 90s or even up around 100. And my reaction to foods is different. No, somebody can’t just do like, I’m going to see how I react to coffee and take two readings. That’s not going to tell you anything. Or people say, I tested my reaction to this sweetener allulose and I did this thing and I took two readings and now I know it spiked me 15 points. That’s just noise. For one thing, those little, readers have a variation of 10 to 15 points anyway. Even if you took two readings in quick succession using the same finger, even the same drop of blood, you get variation and then to think that you’re going to learn something.
Yeah, you can still learn something. I mean, I know whenever I test foods, I do the baseline before I start and then I’ll do three afterwards. I tend to do one at 30 minutes, one at 60 and one at 90 or two hours, I think I do. It’s going to tell you something. It’s going to show you that general trajectory. But, but yes, what I’m fascinated about is to see all those nuances and particularly the impact of things like stress and sleep because everyone always looks directly at the food. It’s a common thing, isn’t it? When people are stalled, when they’re having problems with losing weight and it’s always about the food and they can be saying things like, I’m doing everything right and I don’t understand why am I not losing weight or why have I gained weight this week? And, and it’s only when you look at all the other things that really can have a dramatic effect. So it’s interesting that you say that you have seen that, you have seen the impact that it has on your blood sugar so that we can then infer from that that it’s going to have an impact on say, weight loss, if that was what you were tracking from something like stress or lack of sleep.
I think so. I think it’s the causal chain based on all the science that I understand is you’ll have generally raised cortisol levels and that increases your insulin resistance and your general insulin levels, which will lock the fat within your fat cells so you’ll feel less energetic overall and not burn as much energy and have less access to your fat stores and, you know, the whole cascade. So, I think it is clear that stress and lack of sleep has a huge impact.
So is there anything that surprised you during the time you’ve been monitoring? Is there anything that you wouldn’t have expected to impact the way it has that you’ve seen pop up on those charts?
One thing I would say is that if you are exposed to heat at all, don’t take blood sugar readings and expect to get something meaningful, Because if you get in a hot bath or a sauna or something like that, your blood sugar is going to shoot up like 50-60 points. I think it’s universal. I’ve read that, everyone has this response, but nobody knows about it. So, you go sunbathing or something like that, your body gets hot, it’s gonna release blood glucose, and then once you get cool again drops right back. But to see the magnitude of these swings, you wouldn’t expect it. Also exercise. Exercise is very, very interesting. If you just think like, well I’m going to exercise and so my muscles are going to burn glucose and my glucose is going to drop. Yeah. Not really. Yes, in the total energy sense because you obviously are burning energy and so the energy has to come from somewhere, but your body also responds to stress by releasing glycogen, so your muscles have more energy to burn and it’s always a moving target.
So, your body’s going to release depending on the, the stimuli you get like a really intense lifting session. I go out there and I’m really giving it my all, my body’s going to respond by releasing a ton of glycogen, blood glucose, so I have that energy. Because it’s like, well, you’re doing something seriously intense, I’m going to give you a ton of energy. So, you’ll actually see on the CGM a spike. And then because generally lifting is not a sustained exercise, then you know, maybe you don’t burn that right off. So, you see the spike and it’s not exactly a a crash right away, but a sustained exercise that is intense. Like, sometimes I’ll hit the treadmill as hard as I can and then I kind of oscillate. So, I’m releasing, burning, releasing, burning. And these swings are pretty large until you see it.
And I think once everybody has CGMs accessible to them, like as part of the Apple Watch or fitbit or something like that, I think people are going to be responding to these by maybe structuring their workouts so that they, you know, that you can have a glycogen workout. Where your aim is to exhaust your glycogen. Or maybe you don’t want to exhaust your glycogen because you’re prepping for a race the next day or something like that. But you’ll be able to finely tune what you’re doing with your body and see how your body’s responding to the stress.
Wow. That’s fascinating. It makes me want to try it. I’d be looking at it, I’d be like testing everything. I did see what impact it had.
Oh yes, that spike was such and such.
I also wear an Oura ring. So, I can measure how my sleep, you know, it gives you sleep scores and stress level scores and stuff like that. So, I can also see and correlate. And it absolutely does correlate with what I see on the CGM in terms of general stress levels.
Ah, interesting. So, another thing I’d like to see, but then I’d also probably be a little bit dismayed by the results I’m going to sleep with. My sleep is less than perfect.
Well, it gives you the tools to measure, you know, how your sleep is, and then you try different things to experiment to improve your sleep.
That’s true. Actually. And that goes back to what we were saying before. It’s hard to deny what’s going on if you’ve got the data in front of you.
Exactly. It’s important to measure. Measure, and then respond.